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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 159



country in a body, and took possession of a smali fortress in the neighbourhood of Nicœa, whose garrison they massacred. Then they were in their turn besieged, and, with the exception of their leader, Benaud, or Binaldo, who embraced the Mahometan faith, were slaughtered to a man. The news of this disaster roused the Christians, not to a sense of their danger (which they could not yet comprehend), but to a vehement desire for revenge. They made the luckless Walter lead them against Nicaea, and issued forth from their camp en masse, a disordered, shouting multitude, crying for vengeance against the Turks. But their end was at hand. The Sultan of Nicsea placed half his army in ambuscade in the forest, keeping the other half in the plain ; the Christians were attacked in the front and in the lear, and, cooped up together in confusion, badly armed,' offered very slight resistance. Walter himself fell, one of the first ; the carnage was terrific, and of all the hundred thousand whom Peter and Walter had brought across the Dardanelles, but three thousand escaped. These fled to a fortress by the sea-shore. The bones of their comrades, whitened by the eastern sun, long stood as a monument of the disaster, pointing skeleton fingers on the road to Jerusalem—the road of death and defeat. Only three thousand, out of all these hordes, certainly a quarter of a million in number, which flocked after Peter on his mule ! We can hardly believe that all were killed. Some of the women and children at least might be spared, and without doubt their blood yet flows in the veins of many Hungarian and Bulgarian families. But this was only the first instalment of slaughter. There remained the mighty armies which were even then upon the road. As for Peter, whose courage was as easily daunted as his enthusiasm was easily roused, he fled in dismay and misery back to Constantinople, having lost all authority, even over the few men who remained with him.


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